By Loryn Lestz
Working with the staff and volunteers of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens to design a mobile app for Arboretum visitors has been a wonderful way to bring my graduate school experience to a close. Everyone my team came in contact with during the design process was not only enthusiastic and supportive of our project but also eager to contribute ideas and provide feedback on the app itself. A number of the usability tests we conducted to confirm our design choices were done with volunteers and the passion they expressed for the Arboretum in my interactions with them was truly inspiring. It was truly encouraging to hear them talk about the ways in which they felt the app would be able to help them and the visitors they interact with to enjoy the Arboretum even more than they already do.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of this project for me as a designer was getting to negotiate a balance between enriching Arboretum visitors’ experience with new technologies and keeping that experience focused on the natural beauty of the Arboretum. As someone who loves coming to the Arboretum and forgetting that I am in the middle of the city for a few hours, I knew this was something we would need to be mindful of as we worked. My team and I were successful at keeping this among our top priorities throughout the design process, and couldn’t be happier with the resulting design. I am looking forward to seeing the app move into the development phase and can’t wait to see (and use!) the final product.
Interactive Map of the Arboretum (optimized for desktop computers)